Hey There, Big Spender

helping dad
Helping Dad with paperwork is very serious business

June was an expensive month for us. It will always be an expensive month because that’s when we owe our annual insurance as liveaboards. Thankfully, we were able to switch insurance companies this year for a much cheaper option.

We were previously insured through Lloyds of London. We were grateful that they would insure us in the first place (read about our insurance struggles as a first-time boat owner here) but when it came time to re-up this year, we were disappointed that they were going to charge us the same astronomical rate, even though we were accident-free and ASA certified now. They also required a ton of paperwork hoops to jump through.

After shopping around, we realized that it was way easier to get insurance when you’ve had insurance and were able to get a much more reasonable rate through Pantaenius ($1,000 annually vs $3,600 annually). So what did we do with our savings?

Got a new A.C. unit! Our old one was 16 years old and on its last legs. We had it professionally installed, and Conor watched the process from start to finish. He is getting to be quite the expert on boat systems.

There are also some personal and decorative touches we have planned for the boat. Details and photos next post!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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The Week Everything Broke

As I mentioned in the last blog post, we have just celebrated 1 year living aboard our boat. So how did our beloved home decide to mark the occasion? By having everything that needed to be replaced break at one time.

Let me paint you a picture: it is 3am. I have just been awoken by the dulcet cries of a hungry baby. I stumble down the companionway to the v-berth. I glance at the thermostat, and it reads 79 degrees. Shit. No wonder I’m sweating. The A.C. isn’t working. The air is still blowing but it is no longer cool.

I pick the baby up and start feeding her. All of the sudden, an ear-piercing beeping starts coming from both the aft cabin and the v-berth. The carbon monoxide detectors are going off, and I’m trying not to panic. I wake Conor up, who has miraculously slept through all of this. He’s searching for the manual binder to find out what is going on with the detectors. Turns out, it is the ‘end of life’ alert and we need new ones.

These are both significant problems, but they are 7am problems and not 3am problems. Bleary-eyed, we agree to assess the situation in the morning and go back to bed.

Two days later, we take the boat out for our second sail with baby. We have an in-mast furling system for our main, so as I’m cranking out the sail, I notice that the bottom corner has a small rip. Sucks, but not devastating. As I unfurl it further, I see a rip on the edge of the sail at regular intervals all the way up to the top. WTF??

Turns out, our main halyard wasn’t tight enough at the top, and the weight of the sail had been resting on our battens and our mainsail tore every few feet. I’m kicking myself for not realizing it during the first sail this summer. I had no idea something like that could happen, though. Just when we thought we were kicking butt at this whole newbie sailor thing, too…

So it’s been one thing after another. The good news is that this all happened while Conor was home, instead of when I was alone with baby. Silver linings, right?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

sails
Does this mainsail look trimmed enough to you? That’s because it isn’t. A 4-hr sail like this and it ripped. I feel so dumb I didn’t realize how loose it was when I took this pic.

Celebration Week

Lots to celebrate this week: This stud’s birthday is coming up, and we passed 1 year aboard our boat!

Conor bday

I am such a lucky lady.

But because Conor doesn’t like to make a big deal out of his birthday, the rest of this post will be about our year aboard. This is a random collection of thoughts with contributions from both me and Conor, in no particular order.

  1. Showing off the boat is fun. It’s like bragging about your kid, but people are more impressed.
  2. Parenting is hard whether you are on a boat or in a house. Sleep deprivation is still sleep deprivation.
  3. Sometimes I have no idea what to write on the blog.
  4. It can be hard to focus on work when all you want to do is sail off into the sunset.
  5. All boat work must be done with a beer in hand.
  6. We still haven’t used our dinghy.
  7. Why does the bilge always smell weird after we sail?
  8. Conor keeps accidentally dropping AC filters into the river when he cleans them. We are on #3 now.
  9. Using a cockpit as my writing office is super sweet, until the bugs come out in summer.
  10. I am bad at taking Instagram photos. I don’t have the patience. Usually I look at my phone and say, “Meh, that will work.”
  11. It is hard to get your significant other Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents because you don’t have anywhere to put them.
  12. I have only worn makeup 8 times this year. Hobo boater fashion is going to catch on, I just know it.
  13. Occasionally when the weather is horrible, I envy the people in base housing.
  14. Doing the black water pump out always smells bad. In 4 degrees or 90. The first time or the thirtieth time.
  15. Some friends like to exert their dominance by peeing on the boat, knowing that Conor will have to drag their urine up a hill.
  16. Ice is a novelty.
  17. It is okay to say, “I don’t know why it’s doing that.”
  18. What is ‘personal space’?
  19. The best part of Conor’s day is sliding open the hatch and yelling “Hello girls!” Even when the baby is napping.
  20. We are thankful to be doing this today instead of 30 years from now.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming

Back row. Middle seat. Packed plane. Baby and dog. By myself. Never again.

I got so many stares as I lugged everything through the airport. TSA actually pulled me out of security to put me in a special line because I didn’t have enough hands to bring both dog and baby through the metal detector. To quote, “We’ve never dealt with this before.” Yes, I am a crazy lady. I understand.

In all seriousness, both W and Scout were absolute CHAMPS and I am so proud of them. Such a longgggg travel day, but the fact that Dad was waiting for us on the other end got us through. W definitely remembered the boat– her eyes got huge when her stroller wheels hit the dock, and then she started cracking up when she saw the boat! We had to deal with a few surprises, though, after being gone for over a month.

The first night back on the boat the shore power kept tripping. At 4am Conor figured out the problem: Our power cord was corroded where it hooked up to our boat and we needed to replace both the fitting and the cord. So the next day Conor drove to New Bern to get the parts while W and I made the best of no AC. Then his car decided to die in the West Marine parking lot.

What could we do but laugh? Broken car, broken boat. Both are fixed now, but it was quite the homecoming. He fixed the power cord hookup by removing the old, burned out hookup (easy) and installing the new one (hard). Aligning all the pieces and screwing everything in correctly was challenging, but mostly he was nervous dealing with such an important power source. Tip: make sure ALL power is off on the boat (even batteries) before attempting to replace. Use a digital multimeter to double check that there is 0 electrical current coming from the hookup. Here’s the old versus new piece:

electrical short

In fun news, it was one year ago this weekend that we did the survey for our boat! We had no idea what we were doing or what was in store. I compare that experience to Conor diagnosing and fixing an electrical problem all on his own, and I am so proud. Conor especially has become quite the handyman and DIY expert. He even bought a giant textbook about electrical engineering!

Our to-do list for this summer is a mile long: brightwork, canvas cleaning, anchor chain marking, hull scrubbing…sigh. A little TLC after such a harsh winter. At least we have a year’s worth of experience under our belt now, and it isn’t so overwhelming to tackle it all. Our plan is to FINALLY take her out over Memorial Day weekend and get back into the swing of things. It will be W’s first sail, and I can’t wait to see how she does!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2017 Recap Video

I used my (very limited) technological skills to put together a little recap video of this past year. Just a simple slideshow about our crazy journey in 2017. The song is “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers. Thank you all for following us through everything!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Fire on the Dock!

On Monday night, I took Scout outside at 8:30pm to go potty. Everything was quiet and normal. Scout did her thing in the parking lot and we headed back to the boat. As we crossed the metal bridge from the dockhouse to the floating dock, I noticed a bunch of smoke coming from slip #54. This slip contains a little-used cabin cruiser (I’ve never even met the owners) exactly in the middle of B dock.

It is funny how my brain tried to rationalize it. At first, I thought it was someone running their engine and it was just exhaust, even though it was dead silent. I just couldn’t connect what I was seeing. Then I saw sparks shooting from the electrical hookup and realized, OH SHIT.

Scout, in her usual fashion, had already started to hightail it back to our boat ahead of me. I frantically called her back before she got too close to the fire, and then decided I needed an adultier adult to help.

I banged on the closest boat to me, the Colonel’s boat. He is also a liveaboard, thankfully. He barreled out and grabbed a personal fire extinguisher off his boat. He put out the fire and switched off the fuse box while I called 911 from a safer distance.

Within 10 minutes it seemed like the entire Camp Lejeune fire department had arrived. They checked the hookup box and boarded the boat to check for damage inside. I had to give a statement regarding what I saw. Luckily, the fire was contained to where the power cords connected and nothing else was affected.

I think I saw the fire within minutes of it starting. I’m trying not to think too hard about what could have happened if it started in the middle of the night. The dock could have gone up, as well as some of the neighboring boats if it got really out of hand.

Hopefully this was a freak occurrence, a once-in-a-lifetime scare. I’m thankful that nobody got hurt and that the liveaboard community is so vigilant and prepared. We are here 24/7 to keep an eye on the marina and our boats!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

fire
Thank goodness for fire extinguishers!

Cabin Fever

What does cabin fever look like? This:

cabinfever

 

The kitchen table is dropped down 90% of the time now, our navigation station is for diaper changes, and despite all the coffee I’m drinking, I can’t seem to get anything done on the manuscript I’m trying to edit. There’s laundry piling up, Scout is going stir-crazy, and W won’t nap. I’m not even going to show you the v-berth. If anyone has any survival tips, now is the time to give them!

Today marks 1 week of ridiculous winds, and I am officially going insane. This Nor’easter is kicking our butts. Literally, the butt of our boat is taking the brunt of this weather and loudly drops up and down all day and night. Gale force winds last weekend and now high seas/chop have rendered it difficult to leave the boat.

At least I can find solace in the fact that this past week has been abnormal for the region. One of the other liveaboards told me that in all his years, he had never seen the wind blow so hard for so long here. Abnormal seems to be the theme for our first year on the boat: a fearsome hurricane season, a freakish bomb cyclone in January, and now a blustery March. Fingers crossed that next year will be milder on all accounts!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W